Skip to content

Epic   Fantasy   Friend   Funny   Love   Main   Nature   Other   Sorrow


Winter 1963 –
You know,
The one that makes you think
Of that line from the carol:

“Earth as hard as iron …
Water like a stone”

Or possibly
Frankie Valli’s
Impossibly tight-trussed:

“Oh what a night –
Late December back in 63 …”;

Well yes,
That one;
That one I learned the time-honoured tradition
Of ‘joined-up writing’
[Do they still call it that now?],
Not from my class teacher
[Mrs Troke or Mr Ingram – I can’t remember],
But from Mr Brooks, the Headmaster himself
Who clearly saw writing as a rite of passage
Demanding none other than he at the helm.

I thought I’d done well enough –
At least it looked more than a bit like it should have,
But then his shadow eclipsed
My bright hopes and slight self-confidence
With his well intentioned ‘help’.
[Though my words were as well-formed as anyone’s]
My fore and index fingers
Were exerting too much pressure,
Were ‘concave’ and ‘stressed’
[Not that I knew what either meant then],
Weren’t ‘convex’,
Weren’t ‘relaxed’.

I couldn’t for the life of me see
How it could be
As lighter meant looser
And less control to me.

Fast-forward forty-odd years
And maybe forty thousand self-penned pages
And I can still recall his reproof
Clearer than his face and his pinstripe suit,
But today I watched you writing your journal
And marvelled as your words
Fountained, inked and flowed their way across the page
With all the effortless elegance and grace
Of Torvill and Dean in their ‘Bolero’ prime:-

Your fingers as wonderfully concave as mine.